The three-day workshop which started on March 19 on “Electoral Contestant” conducted by the Election Commission of Bhutan offered nothing new but was a forum to voice out their opinions and an interactive session, said most of the participants including those from the old as well as newly registered parties.
Dr. Chencho T Dorji who is an aspiring candidate for Druk Mitser Tshogpa said that the political parties cannot walk in isolation despite different ideologies. “We need to have this type of workshop to share and understand each other’s opinions and ideologies after all we all are working for the same cause that is good governance.”
The workshop mainly focused on educating individuals who are interested in forming new political parties, and covered aspects like the creation of a new political party, internal funding, election fraud, and so on.
An aspiring politician who contested in the 2008 elections told The Bhutanese that this workshop is just a revision of what we learnt in 2008 but meeting new people, sharing experiences from previous times and planning for the future is what we did during the workshop .He added that among many topics discussed in the workshop, he found ‘Guiding Principles’ to be thought provoking.
“The workshop was a kind of flashback, but exchanging and sharing ideas among different participants who are mostly aspiring politicians and some who have worked in politics before, was more educative and informative,” said Mr. J.N Sharma who is working with Druk Mitser Tshogpa and was part of the Bhutan People United Party (BPUP) in 2007.
He found the presentation of “Code of Conduct” inspiring and he wished to incorporate it in his party.
“It would be wise if Election Commission could conduct this type of workshop at least six to seven months before the next elections,” he said.
“Through this workshop, I have learnt that politicians are not that bad,” said a political researcher, “this type of program creates room for learning and sharing but this type of workshop should focus more on a variety of new agendas.”
He also shared that this type of workshop would help to break barriers between different parties and party workers.
Brian Latham, an Expert Facilitator from Australia told The Bhutanese that this is a high profile workshop, the first of its kind conducted in Bhutan and this is one of 22 modules under the Building resources in development, governance and election (BRIDGE) program.
“So far, the feedback received from the participants were all positive,” adding that BRIDGE is not advocating anything but it is an opportunities to explore the strong discussion among political parties.
“BRIDGE is providing a platform to interact and make professional friends among the participants be it an aspiring politician or interested individual. “ He suggested that it would be a great idea to conduct such programs on a regular basis.